Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccination plan has followed a phased approach to bring primary series and booster doses to Nova Scotians.
A primary series is an initial series of vaccinations designed to give you protection against a disease. For COVID-19 this is typically two doses, but people with compromised immune systems require a third dose to complete their primary series.
A booster dose helps maintain and lengthen your level of protection, as immunity may decrease over time. Public Health recommends that all eligible Nova Scotians get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Recommended intervals between vaccine doses:
Between the first and second doses (primary series)
- 56 days (8 weeks) – Ages 6 months and older
- 28 days (4 weeks) – All people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
Between the second dose (primary series) and first booster
- 168 days (24 weeks) – Ages 12 - 69
- 120 days (17 weeks) – Pregnant people and eligible groups* (see below)
Between the third dose (primary series) and first booster
- 120 days (17 weeks) – All people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
Between the first and second boosters
- 168 days (24 weeks) – Ages 50 - 69
- 120 days (17 weeks) – Pregnant people who received a booster before becoming pregnant, and are due to deliver by November 30, 2022.
- 120 days (17 weeks) – People 50 - 69 years old who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, and eligible groups* (see below)
Please note: Public Health recommends getting the second booster in the Fall for better protection during the upcoming cold and flu season. As well, new vaccines that may offer broader protection against the Omicron variant may become available.
*Eligible groups include:
- People age 70+
- Adult residents of long-term care or congregate living settings
- People age 55+ who are First Nations
- People age 50+ who are African Nova Scotian
Nova Scotians who are moderately to severely immunocompromised will need a third dose of vaccine to complete their primary series. In this case, the time between the first dose and second dose is 28 days (4 weeks) and the time between the second dose and third dose is 56 days (8 weeks). Learn more at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/#additional-doses.
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
- Why Get Vaccinated?
- Why Should I Get a COVID-19 Booster?
How to access your COVID-19 vaccine proof of vaccination
If you have not received a digital record of your COVID-19 vaccine(s), you can access your COVID-19 proof of vaccination by visiting: novascotia.ca/immunizationrecord
To access your proof of vaccination, you can enter your health card number and an email address OR your health card number and a phone number (mobile or land line).
If you are unable to access your record online, you can call 1-833-797-7772 to request that your proof of vaccination be mailed to you.
Primary series of COVID-19 vaccine doses
Nova Scotia adopted the NACI recommendation that the interval between first and second doses of primary series be 56 days (8 weeks). Evidence shows that a longer interval creates a better immune response.
Below are the recommended minimum time intervals between COVID-19 vaccine doses for a person’s primary series:
- If someone received Pfizer as their first dose, they can receive Pfizer or Moderna (eight) 8 weeks later.
- If someone received Moderna as their first dose, they can receive Moderna or Pfizer (eight) 8 weeks later.
- If someone received Astra Zeneca Vaxzevria as their first dose, they can receive Moderna and Pfizer (eight) 8 weeks later.
Eligible vaccine by age group:
- 6 months to 4 years: Moderna
- 5 years to 17 years: Pfizer BioNTech
- 18 years and older: Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech
A confirmed allergy to the COVID-19 vaccines is rare. If your health care provider has questions regarding allergies and COVID-19 vaccines s/he can contact an allergist.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for people who:
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- have autoimmune disorders
- are immunosuppressed
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) strongly recommends that people who are planning a pregnancy, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, get a complete series of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, plus a booster dose when eligible.
People who are pregnant are eligible for an mRNA booster dose 120 days after completing their primary series. Those who received a booster before becoming pregnant, and are expected to deliver by November 30, 2022, are encouraged to receive a second booster dose before they deliver, at least 120 after their first.
There is growing information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. There have not been any unique safety concerns raised about negative health effects from vaccine for pregnant people or their babies. Evidence is showing that antibodies from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines cross the placenta and are present in breast milk after maternal vaccination with mRNA vaccines, which may provide some protection for babies. View more information.
Immunosuppression or immunocompromised status
People who are immunocompromised (have a weak immune system) were not included in the trials testing COVID-19 vaccines. However, immunocompromised people have received Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines during the pandemic. There have not been any unique safety concerns raised about negative health effects from vaccine for immunocompromised people. If you're immunosuppressed from disease or treatment, you may have a reduced immune response to any COVID-19 vaccine.
Recent data suggests that people with an autoimmune condition and normal immune system have a similar response to a COVID-19 vaccine than people without these conditions. There have not been any unique safety concerns raised about negative health effects from vaccine for autoimmune individuals.
Immunosuppression, auto-immune disorders, pregnancy and breastfeeding are not contraindications to COVID-19 immunization.
Medical Contraindications to COVID-19 vaccination
Medical contraindications against COVID-19 vaccines are limited in number, and include:
- a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) after previous administration of a COVID-19 vaccine using a similar platform (mRNA or viral vector);
- an allergy to any component of the specific COVID-19 vaccine or its container [polyethylene glycol (PEG) for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines];
- a history of major venous and/or arterial thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine;
- a history of capillary leak syndrome (CLS) following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
As a precaution, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that people who experienced myocarditis and/or pericarditis after a first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) should wait to get their second dose of mRNA vaccine until more information is available.
If you have a history of myocarditis or pericarditis and are still being followed by a doctor for related heart issues, please follow up with your healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine.
Nova Scotians who are concerned about their personal medical history and the available mRNA vaccines should speak with their healthcare provider.